What is Tarlov Cysts?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 04, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Tarlov cysts are sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid.
  • The cysts compress the nerves and cause back pain.
  • The cysts can be diagnosed through magnetic resonance imaging.
  • It can be treated through various medications.

What are Tarlov Cysts?

Sacs that get filled with cerebrospinal fluid are called tarlov cysts. The fluid usually has an effect on the nerve roots in the scrum, which is the group of bones located at the base of the spine. These cysts are capable of compressing the nerve roots leading to lower back pain, sciatica, urinary incontinence, headaches, constipation, sexual dysfunctions, and loss of feeling or control of movement in leg and/or foot.  The pressure caused on the nerves next to the cysts can also lead to pain and deterioration of surrounding bone.

Tarlov Cysts Definition

Tarlov cysts can be diagnosed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). But, it is believed that the most of the cysts observed by MRI show no symptoms. The cysts can become symptomatic after a shock, trauma, or exertion that leads to buildup of cerebrospinal fluid.

How to Treat Tarlov Cysts?

The cysts may be drained and shunted in order to relieve the pressure and pain caused by the cysts. However, the relief from the pain is usually temporary and fluid builds up again. Corticosteroid injections are also given to patients to relieve the pain. Other drugs used to relieve the pain can be the ones used to treat chronic pain and depression. Besides these, a person may also be injected with fibrin glue to relieve the pain and pressure.

Tarlov Cysts Definition

By Making the body less alkaline with the use of diet or supplements can also lower the effect of symptoms. In some cases the cyst may be removed through a microsurgery. It is done in cases where individuals do not respond to medication and experience consistent pain and neurological damage.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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